The US Food and Drug Administration announced on Sept. 12 that it's taking a hard stance against e-cigarette marketing geared towards kids and teenagers. In a press release, the FDA explained that it issued 1,300 warning letters to manufacturers and fines to stores who sold Juul and other e-cigarettes illegally to underage kids. The group also gave e-cigarette companies 60 days to come up with plans to keep their products out of the hands of minors.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said that the FDA will do anything in its power to keep potentially addictive substances out of the hands of minors.
"We're committed to the comprehensive approach to address addiction to nicotine that we announced last year," he said. "But at the same time, we see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion, and we must adjust certain aspects of our comprehensive strategy to stem this clear and present danger."
"We won't allow the current trends in youth access and use to continue, even if it means putting limits in place that reduce adult uptake of these products."
So far, the FDA has issued warnings to Vuse, Blu, Juul, MarkTen XL, and Logic. And while e-cigarette brands are certainly healthier for adults, compared to traditional cigarettes, they still need to be kept out of children's hands.
Gottlieb pointed to the fact that cigarette vapors come in different flavors, which may contribute to their prominent usage in younger age groups.
"I believe certain flavors are one of the principal drivers of the youth appeal of these products," he explained. "While we remain committed to advancing policies that promote the potential of e-cigarettes to help adult smokers move away from combustible cigarettes, that work can't come at the expense of kids. We cannot allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine."
In fact, the FDA is so serious about curbing the problem, it's threatening to pull e-cigarettes off the shelves for adults, too. "We won't allow the current trends in youth access and use to continue, even if it means putting limits in place that reduce adult uptake of these products," he said.